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Court rules in favor of resident

Friday, March 12, 2010

Edna Chadwell
A recent court ruling came out in favor for a county resident.

For two years, Clay County resident Edna Chadwell, along with seven others, have waged a legal battle against the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA). The suit specifically targeted the FSSA Aged and Disabled Waiver Program.

Earlier this week, a decision by Clay County Superior Court Judge J. Blaine Akers ruled that caps on services through the program were "permanently enjoined."

The Aged and Disabled Waiver Program permits Medicaid recipients who "otherwise required institutionalization for their conditions -- whether that be in a nursing home, a hospital or another facility -- to receive services in their homes or a community-based setting," according to American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana (ACLU) attorney Gavin Rose.

Rose has said the waiver program had to be renewed by the FSSA every five years and the renewal then goes through an approval process by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

However, Rose said when the renewal process came up in 2008, the FSSA included a limitation on the number of "attendant care" hours that enrollees may receive.

Despite the recent court ruling, Rose told The Brazil Times the state now has 30 days to either file an appeal or file a Motion to Correct Errors. He said if neither takes place, the court decision is "final."

In late 2008, Rose said FSSA received a preliminary injunction which stated it had to continue providing the maximum amount of care hours for those in the program, adding the court ruling earlier this week made the injunction "permanent." He said even with the injunction in place, the state had agreed to not cap hours through the program until the case was resolved.

Rose said the court ruling essentially said the cap on services was a violation.

"We were absolutely thrilled," Rose said. "It's a very good decision. This will save (the plaintiffs) from enrolling in a nursing home. This is something (Chadwell) would have had to do, or consider, if the hours were reduced."

Rose said he contacted Chadwell Wednesday and she was "deliriously happy."

"These are services that she needs," Rose said.

"I won a two-year battle," Chadwell said. "I'm pleased for myself and everybody else this can help."

Rose said he doesn't expect to hear if the state will appeal for at least a month.

"I would not be surprised either way," he said. "It's up to them. But I wouldn't be surprised if they do."

He said if the state does elect to appeal the decision, the case will go to the Indiana Court of Appeals.

"The Indiana Court of Appeals is one of the more efficient appellate courts in the nation," Rose said. "But this could take months. If the state decides to appeal, we're certainly not at the end of the road."

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GO EDNA!!! Im relieved to hear you won and this will mean alot to families who are also involved. Its pretty pathetic that you had to go thru so much fighting for the help you need to live but thats 'our great america'. Anyway CONGRATS to your win in this long fight! Kim

-- Posted by madmom01 on Sat, Mar 13, 2010, at 7:41 AM

I'm sure I'd like to stay in my home too. If you have the financial resources to pay for near round the clock attendants then good for you. If you're asking us (taxpayers) to pay for it, then that's another thing. One nurse can take care of several people in a nursing home. If I remeber the prior article the FSSA was going to limit benefits to ONLY 40 hours per week. If I got that wrong, please forgive. That means one person has more than one full-time person assigned to them.

-- Posted by brazilian on Sat, Mar 13, 2010, at 9:28 PM

Okay brazilian, I see your point but you are not looking at it from the other side. Even if they are in the nursing facility the taxpayers will be paying for it also. I applaud people who want to stay at home. My father, who is confined to a wheelchair, is one of them. If my father had to enter a nursing home, he would actually wither away. With him being at home he gets to go out and have meals with friends, go shopping, and just be able to live life to the fullest. At a nursing home he would be stuck in his bed and become extremely depressed. That is what is wrong with today's society, our elderly/disabled are a disposal item anymore. Which in fact they are a wealth of knowledge. Maybe if you sit and listen to them, you might learn something. Have you been to one of the nursing homes? I have to visit my family--They smell horrible and the one I go to, the nursing staff does not have the best bedside manners. I feel worse when I leave there seeing how sad and lonely they all look. I hope you never have to be in that position.

-- Posted by smoke20fan on Mon, Mar 15, 2010, at 8:55 AM

A comment on brazilian's comment. You need to know that the program Ms. Chadwell and the others are on has to be, by law, more cost-effective than entering a nursing home. So although Ms. Chadwell's cost of remaining in her own home is higher than average, the cost of the program she is on, the Aged and Disabled Medicaid Waiver, is LESS EXPENSIVE to the taxpayers than nursing home care. It still will be, after this lawsuit.

This lawsuit was to remove artificial caps placed on the care of the people with the highest medical needs. Think of it this way. Suppose Medicaid said that they would pay for no more than one artificial leg per person. This would be a cap to that service. So if a person had a double amputation, they could get only one prosthesis. How does that help the person walk? The lawsuit was to make Medicaid look at the individual needs of each person on the program and to give them the services they need to succeed at home. The caps were a "one size fits all" mentality. This just doesn't work in healthcare.

-- Posted by ora222 on Mon, Mar 15, 2010, at 10:07 AM

I am a mother of an 11 yr old with Spastic Cerebal palsy,who benefits from this program.I applaude Edna because most people don't have the energy to fight the system.As for Brazilian even if these people were in nursing homes Medicaid would still pay for it but then they are paying for room and board,meals and etc.This way these clients can remain in home or with families,and maintain some independence.I and my husband both work and pay taxes as well as you,we do not get food stamps or welfare but our daughter does recieve this help from waiver.It allows respite care and us the parents the opportunity to get out and work and be productive citizens,while having a trained person there to take care of our daughter.Because with her disabilities she could not go to a regular babysitter.So I applaud Edna for going extra mile to stand up for what she believes in.

-- Posted by westsidemom on Mon, Mar 15, 2010, at 3:36 PM

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